Divya: An agent of social change


Divya understood better than most the power of education and its impact on a person’s life. Since her childhood, she was fascinated with books as they transported her to a world beyond her own. When she immersed herself in books, her imagination took her on adventures and discoveries, bringing her comfort. But in those moments, she was also reminded of her family’s struggle for a three-time meal. Without realising it, she had understood the struggles of her illiterate parents, working tirelessly as seasonal agricultural labourers trying to make ends meet for their family of five. Despite their struggles, Divya’s parents, Rashi and Kamal always wished for their children to get an education, earn a livelihood, and bring themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

As Divya and her siblings grew older, their parents recognised their growing needs but also realised their shortcomings. In their efforts to ensure a better future for them, Divya’s parents enrolled her in ChildFund India’s sponsorship program after learning about its comprehensive support to children until the age of 24. They saw this as an opportunity for Divya to gain support in her development and well-being.

At the age of 8, Divya became a part of ChildFund’s sponsorship program. Through this program, Divya’s educational expenses, including school fees, uniforms and stationery were paid for through her sponsor. For Rashi and Kamal, this support allowed them to allocate more resources for their other children. Over the years, Divya not only received support with her education, but also received gift money during her birthdays and festive seasons which provided extra support for her family.

Throughout the sponsorship years, Divya and her family received comprehensive support through various ChildFund India program and project initiatives on health, education, livelihood, and child protection. As she grew older, she actively engaged in adolescent and youth programs acquiring valuable knowledge and skills. Most significantly, she acquired knowledge on child rights issues such as child labour and child marriage which prepared her for the challenges ahead. In fact, when Divya was in 9th standard, her relatives arranged for her marriage without her or her parents’ consent. Their belief was rooted in the misconception that educating a girl child was a waste of resources and that she be married off to lessen the burden of her parents. Naturally, both Divya and her parents strongly disapproved of the arrangement, rejected the proposal from their relatives and told them off.

As Divya resumed her schooling, so did the experience of unfair treatment from her classmates. All throughout her school days, she was affected by her experience of caste-based discrimination which remains a reality in rural areas in India, unlike the metro cities. She witnessed many friends from her community drop out of school due to the discrimination they faced. It was during this time that Divya was inspired to become an educator and work towards reducing the number of students who drop out of schools.

The combined support from ChildFund India and her parents, strengthened Divya’s determination to achieve her goals leading her to college, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in economics. In college, she made new friends and received immense support from her teachers contributing to an overall positive learning experience. This experience reinforced her decision to become an educator as she wished for all the children from her community to have a similar positive learning journey.

Upon graduating from college, Divya secured a teaching position at a local school in her community. Through this achievement, she embarked on her mission to support children from her community so that they can secure a future beyond poverty and achieve their full potential. Although challenging at times, Divya found joy in teaching and connecting with the students. In her contribution to leaving no one behind, Divya put in extra hours and efforts offering after-class tutoring support to students facing difficulties or at risk of dropping out.

After teaching for a couple of years, Divya decided to pursue a master’s degree. She strongly believes that expanding her knowledge and getting a degree will enable her to have a more significant impact and inspire others in her community to achieve their goals. Currently enrolled in a master’s program at a nearby government college, she says, “If I can do it, so can all the children in my community”.

Divya is an inspiration in her community, and ChildFund India takes pride in its alumni, such as her, who have overcome numerous challenges to achieve their goals and strives to reach their full potential.

*names have been changed

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